Aug 03, 2012 at 11:43am
The Peace Legacy By Late President Mills
COMMENTARY ON THE PEACE LEGACY BY LATE PRESIDENT JOHN EVANS ATTA MILLS
A popular Akan proverb has it that it is only when the millipede dies does one discover what it left as a legacy.
As we continue to mourn our beloved President Prof John Evans Atta mills, it is worthy to note that one particular accolade keeps on running through all the tributes and that he was an embodiment of peace.
Former President J.
A Kufour certainly did not mince words when he described him as one with “an air of peace around him”.
Indeed Prof Mills did not only punctuate his speeches with his gospel of peace but his entire lifestyle demonstrated this noble virtue.
It is unfortunate that some trivialized this message of peace and considered it as not so important for the development of the country.
It is important to stress that peace is a priceless commodity.
It is a sign of development and prosperity, it brings happiness among people.
Peace helps to promote human rights, democratic norms and values.
Peace is described as the mother of civilization and war as the demon of destruction.
Ghana is not regarded world wide as a conflict country; however, issues about access to land, use of natural resources, appointment and elevation to chieftaincy politics, have very often times led to different levels of conflicts nation-wide.
Fresh on our minds are the recent conflicts in the Central, Volta and Upper Regions that led to loss of lives and properties.
If there is any time that we should be guided by this legacy of our late father it is now that we are preparing for general elections.
Even though it is impossible to have an absolute conflict free society, the repercussions of war and other forms of unrests in other parts of the continent should prompt us as a Nation, to resist any temptation of fuelling conflict into intense violence and brutality.
Prof Mills has paid his dues so well, any reference to the blood and toil of our fathers in the national pledge cannot exclude his sacrifice for Mother Ghana.
For him, peace is the foundation of every development agenda.
Prof Mills will be laid to rest soon and campaigning for the upcoming election will again be set in motion.
If we decide to forget everything about this statesman, certainly, it should not be his clarion call for peace.
In this election year, politicians will do the nation a great service by avoiding intense acrimony, hate speech which are key ingredients for conflict.
One character so unique of Prof Mills is that he tried hard to do what is right even when it was to his disadvantage.
Indeed, practicing forgiveness rather than resentment when one feels offended is a difficult task but the fruits that it yields are many and worth the effort.
If indeed there is anything worthy of emulation about this legacy of peace by Prof Mills at least let’s take a cue from Cote d’Ivoire which was once referred to as beacon of peace and prosperity in the West African sub region but was later nullified by civil strife and political turmoil that led to the death of over three thousand people.
It is over a year now since the end of the Cote d’Ivoire war, but available reports by Human Rights Watch have it that some form of instability still continues with villages being attacked and civilians killed on a regular basis.
Conflict impacts on human well-being, reducing quality of life, the capabilities of people to live the kinds of lives they value, and the real choices they have.
Today there are several refugees and internally displaced people emanating from conflicts in Africa.
To quote President Mills ‘when you watch the television and you see displaced people from war torn Countries carrying their bags and living their Countries do we ponder to ask what are in their bags and where they are going’.
As a people we need to revive the Ghanaian spirit of brotherliness and peace and adopt the strategy of accommodating and negotiation when we cannot simply agree on any issue.
This is the only perfect tribute we can give in honour of late Prof John Evans Mills as we bid him farewell.
Rest in Peace Prof.
BY: DAVID OWUSU-AMOAH, NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLANNING COMMISSION.